Can I bend the male bracket while attaching it to the wall?


If it is just a 1/32” you may get away with it. But in theory, if the female bracket that is attached to the shelf cannot catch the top of the male bracket along its entire length, the two will not connect correctly, and will not hold anything. In fact, they will fall as soon as you let go.

It's extremely important to keep the male and female brackets straight, and we essentially never recommend bending them. See the below diagram for help with bowed walls and solutions:

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